Federal Budget

Congress approves spending bill

Featured image This morning at around 5:30 a.m., the House approved a budget deal that will add hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending, not just for the military but also for domestic programs. The vote was 240-186. The Senate had already passed the deal by a vote of 71-28 (John McCain did not vote). In both chambers, the dissenters were a mix of hard core leftists who objected to not »

Another problem with the spending deal

Featured image The editors of National Review point to a problem with the spending deal that I hadn’t considered: it may end the chance for a conservative legislative achievement in 2018. Here’s why: A two-year spending deal means Republicans probably won’t go to the trouble of passing a formal budget for 2019. That would mean no chance for a so-called reconciliation process that could allow them to enact meaningful legislation with only »

McConnell puts big government freight train back on track

Featured image Skepticism is always in order on the substance of any agreement between Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats, especially if the subject is spending. When it comes to the spending deal Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer reached, skepticism should probably give way to alarm. The deal raises spending caps on discretionary spending by nearly $300 billion over two years. According to Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, this means »

Democrats vote to shut government down

Featured image Tonight, the Senate failed to approve a funding bill that would have kept the government fully open and operating for the time being. Nearly every Republican Senator voted for the bill. The only exceptions were two pro-amnesty Senators — Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake — and two anti-spending hardliners — Rand Paul and Mike Lee. Nearly every Democratic Senator voted against the bill. The only exceptions were five Red State »

A Primer on the “Government Shutdown”

Featured image It seems Senate Democrats are determined to have a government shutdown probably because of the default requirement of the Democratic base of “total resistance” to Trump. They are attaching the demand that DACA be “fixed” as a condition to funding the federal government (as OMB director Nick Mulvaney pointed out this morning, Democrats do not oppose any of the funding specifics of the continuing resolution), because they know that if »

The “Government Shutdown” Fraud

Featured image The press is starting to beat the usual drums about the horror of a possible “government shutdown” Friday night if Congress can’t pass a budget or a stopgap spending bill. This does seems slightly unusual in that Republicans control both Congress and the executive branch, so what is there to fight about, unlike previous showdowns that pitted a Republican Congress against a Democratic president. I guess the Senate needs some »

Taxing Times, and That Ol’-Timey Liberal Religion

Featured image I was on the road all this past week with a hectic itinerary on both coasts, so I wasn’t paying especially close attention to the news. Did I miss anything? Ah yes—I see Democrats are in a rage that Republicans have taken Nancy Pelosi’s advice to pass a bill to find out what is in it with the tax reform bill. They’re acting as though Republicans, in wheeling and dealing »

Monkey business at the CBO?

Featured image The mainstream media almost never mentions the Congressional Budget Office without adding the adjective “non-partisan.” But the CBO is staffed by folks who, in real life, are probably partisan. And given the pool from which its staff is drawn, most very likely are partisan Democrats. Are its findings infected by partisan bias? I don’t know. But something funny is going on with the CBO’s assessment of the impact of repealing »

The Case for Spending Caps

Featured image The Budget Control Act of 2011 resolved the purported “debt ceiling crisis” of that year, when it was widely (but falsely) alleged that the U.S. would go into default if the debt ceiling were not increased. Hardly anyone liked the sequestration that resulted from that budget compromise, but I did. It was the only effective check on federal spending in my lifetime. This video by the Center for Freedom and »

Washington Post makes wild claim about Trump’s budget

Featured image “President’s plan could stretch nation’s income inequality to ‘extreme’ levels.” That’s the headline in the paper edition of the Washington Post of an article about President Trump’s proposed budget. Can a budget that cuts taxes and makes appreciable but relatively minor cuts in spending on giveaway programs really “stretch [the] nation’s inequality to ‘extreme’ levels”? I doubt it, and nothing in the Post’s story supports such a claim. To assess »

Trump’s Budget Assumes Reasonable GDP Growth, Liberals Go Ballistic

Featured image President Trump’s first proposed budget was released today, to howls of outrage from the left. The New York Times issued an email breaking news alert: The Times’s claim that Trump’s budget assumes “improbable economic growth” was mild compared to the reaction from most of the liberal commentariat. Slate, for example, initially headlined “The Trump budget forecasts 3 percent growth for 10 years, is insane,” but then backed off to “Trump’s »

House approves spending bill

Featured image The House today voted to approve a spending bill that, if approved by the Senate, will keep the federal government up and running through September. The vote was 309-118 (NOTE: or 310-117, according to other reports I’ve seen). It had majority support from both Democrats and Republicans. More than 90 percent of Democrats supported it. Republicans were much more closely divided, with only about 55 percent of the caucus backing »

Conservatives condemn spending deal; Trump talks of “shutdown” in the Fall

Featured image Scott has described the briefing in which the White House tepidly defended (if I’m reading Scott’s post correctly) the spending deal. Since that briefing, President Trump seems to have abandoned any pretense that the deal is acceptable. As Scott later noted, Trump has tweeted that “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!” Trump needed to distance himself from the deal. Rush Limbaugh has panned it. My »

A government shutdown over the Mexico wall?

Featured image Senate Democrats are threatening a government shutdown over funding for President Trump’s wall on the Mexican border. The New York Times’s Alan Rappeport notices their hypocrisy: Democrats pilloried Republicans for irresponsibly shutting down the government when Barack Obama was president, but as a minority party struggling to show resistance in the era of President Trump, they are now ready to let the lights of government go dark. A group of »

More Soldiers, Fewer Bureaucrats

Featured image That is President Trump’s budget proposal in a nutshell. Trump’s plan will include a “whopping” $54 billion increase in defense spending, according to the Associated Press. That will take the defense budget a little more than half way to where it was when President Obama started cutting it in 2011. The president’s budget will “impose corresponding cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid,” meaning pretty significant cuts for most federal »

Obama’s Lame Duck Budget

Featured image President Obama has unveiled his last budget proposal, which calls for $4.1 trillion in spending for FY 2017. In the final year of his presidency Obama is by definition a lame duck. With Republicans in control of Congress–even though it doesn’t always seem like it–he is the lamest possible duck. As always, Obama’s final budget purports to cover the next ten years. But since Obama will be gone in a »

The problem with Speaker Ryan in one headline

Featured image Yesterday’s Washington Post featured an article by Amber Phillips called (in the paper edition) “A dismal congressional session, but a flicker of hope.” According to Phillips, the “hope” lies in the “fresh face” of Speaker Paul Ryan and the bipartisanship he has already demonstrated. That the Washington Post sees hope in Ryan’s emergence tells conservatives everything they need to know about the new Speaker. Moreover, an article like Phillips’ is »